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How often to update anti-virus definitions?

Sharp Advice's Avatar
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Join Date: Feb 1998
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01-06-01, 09:29 AM   #1  
Computer Viruses:
How often to update anti-virus definitions?

Just the thought alone of a virus on your computer should strike fear in any computer user. And rightly so. A virus code, downloaded onto a computer and unknowingly executed, does have the ability to totally crash one's computer.

It's often said that to be safe, never download and execute any program from someone you don't know. Sounds safe enough, but is it? Not hardly. A virus almost alway's arrives from someone you DO know. That's one way the virus conceals itself.

Another way a virus can infect your computer is when the name of the virus is changed by the sending party whom you do know or the virus code itself changes the viruses name, in an effort to catch you off guard.

A virus, by arriving in an email attachment from someone you DO know, you could feel safe and unknowingly execute the program and release that virus onto their computer.

So how can you be safe? Good question. Honest answer. Truth is, unless your aware of the virus or it's extention code, you never really can be positive. Safest method is to NOT download and surely NOT execute the program at all. Not much fun...but definitely safe.

Current day, new virus codes, are written faster then anti-virus companies can write anti-virus nullifying codes. Often times a computer has to be infected and that person has to submit the virus code to the anti-virus company before they are even aware of that new virus.

Being as current as you can with updated anti-virus codes from your anti-virus company, alway's running the anti-virus program at startup, avoiding downloading attachments from anybody and executing them, is about all you can do.

The question then is, how often to update the virus software??? All too often it is suggested to update monthly. In my opinion, monthly isn't often enough. Weekly is a safer method.

Your views, opinions, agreements, disagreements and alternate suggestions are welcome. Click the reply button and post them here for all of us to learn from.


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spike's Avatar
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01-06-01, 10:20 AM   #2  
You pretty much said it all, Tom. I agree that weekly is good and probably about as often as they come out, at least for my antivirus vendor. I would also suggest keeping somewhat abreast of the virus situation by going to the antivirus peoples web sites and reading up on the known viruses that are common out there, an admittedly boring task but it can save your bacon at times if you know what to watch for.

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01-06-01, 12:29 PM   #3  
Have you anti-virus software set to automaticly notify you, some can even auto-update.

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01-06-01, 12:37 PM   #4  
Unless you are a company, the worst that can happen is a virus costs you a half days work, formating and redoing your system. However you could pass the virus onto others before you even notice the effects on your own system. So an antivirus on your system can save you from a lot of inconvenience. I personally don't have autoprotect set on my system , but do full system scans regularly. I don't use auto protect because of resourse issues, and have never picked a virus up yet, perhaps I have just been lucky. My work however does get them from time to time, and they use antivirus software thru-out the network, and some still still thru, usually of the email type.

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